I've finally decided on the ship. W Arcturus Black's review helped me decide. If you check it out, you'll probably figure out who I'm talking about. And by the end of the chapter, you should know. Thank you WAB and everyone else who told me their thoughts.
"Are we starting pyschomancy today?" Harry asked eagerly the next day.
The day the two were supposed to begin pyschomancy, Minerva had joined them. From there, the two lacked a chance to start their exploration into soul magic. Upon returning to Hogwarts, they were finally blessed with the time to start.
"We are" Dumbledore chuckled "For right now, we're going to start off with the basics, which is exploring your own soul. Pyschomancy will involve you harnessing your abilities in both occlumency and legilimency to max capacity. They'll let you explore through your mind, and eventually be able to see your soul."
"And once I learn how to use occlumency to find my soul, I could apply the concept using legilimency to find the souls of others" Harry grinned.
"Precisely. You'll start by using occlumency and legilimency to find the souls, but over time, you should be able to find them naturally. To feel their souls, and by extension, you should be able to feel their magical core" Dumbledore explained, to which Harry added "That makes sense. The core and soul are entwined with each other. Finding one helps you find the other."
"Exactly" Albus smiled at his apprentice "I have some business to attend to. I want you to focus on finding your soul."
As Dumbledore departed, Harry began his meditation. It was how he originally built his occlumency barriers, so he felt that it would be smart to use it again when he went through them.
He then found that his occlumency had downsides. Harry had fortified every inch of his mind as strongly as possible. Adding that onto his natural affinity for occlumency meant that Harry had a tough time trying to find his soul due to all the protections.
Eventually, he found a glowing spirit deep down inside. Grinning, he went to touch it. That's when he felt the pain.
His hand suddenly felt a burning sensation in his hand. Instinctively, Harry pulled his hand away but the pain didn't stop. It started spreading throughout his body like a virus, so that all he felt was unreal amounts of pain.
It was like every nerve in his body was on fire, every bone was being smashed into pieces. Harry strongly suspected that it was what one went through under the Cruciatus Curse.
After a few seconds, Harry pulled out of his mind and back into reality. He quickly fell down, trying to calm himself down after that ordeal. He didn't know how long he laid there, but after a while, he got up and went to his desk.
Long ago, when Harry's studies began drifting towards self-study, Dumbledore advised him to keep a journal. The reasoning was simple. Memory can fail you. With a journal, you can document your progress and allow others to understand it. Albus even took the liberty to give Harry his first one. It was charmed so only Harry could read it, along with those Harry gave permission to.
He went to his new pyschomancy journal and started his entry "Day 1: I began my exploration to find my own soul. The exploration was unsuccessful. I made it through my barriers and discovered a spirit which is suspected to be my soul. I attempted contact and was overcome with pain similar to reports regarding the Cruciatus Curse. Most likely, I triggered a trap set in place by my natural occlumency. Future trips will be focused on overcoming the trap and making first contact with my soul."
Harry was never a huge writer. He wrote however much was necessary. Whether it 6 sentences or 66 didn't really matter to him, as much as whether his point was made. He found writers to wrote too much for the sake of writing to be incompetent.
As he put the journal back on the shelf, he felt his stomach rumble. Harry check the time and noted that it was lunchtime. He decided that it would be wise to eat something so he made his way to the Great Hall.
Amid many a stare, Harry entered the Great Hall. Some students thought he was working every second of the day and naturally, were surprised when he took the time to eat.
Ignoring the stares, the real Boy-Who-Lived began looking for a seat. On instinct, he looked at the Head Table where his eyes made contact with Dumbledore. He got a smile from his mentor but at the same time, a subtle head shake.
A look at the rest of the table cleared at confusion Harry had due to Dumbledore's signal. Umbridge appeared to be in a bad mood for some reason and Harry knew that he was quite talented at provoking people. Putting him at a table with Umbridge would get someone in trouble and he doubted that it would be her.
Harry then realized that besides the teachers, he barely knew anybody at Hogwarts. He looked for the one kid he knew in Neville but found the boy in close proximity to the "Golden Trio." He could stomach his brother but his friends were a problem.
When Harry was eating at the feast, he made eye contact with Neville and then caught a glimpse of the Golden Trio. Until then, they simply thought that Dumbledore was taking care of Harry and teaching him based off the Hogwarts curriculum with some extracurriculars like the Animagus transformation. It was then they learned how advanced he really was.
Noah had a look on his face which appeared to be a mixture of pride and jealously which Harry could understand. He lived his life thinking he was the best and now, he learned that he wasn't all that good. For one in his situation, he was dealing with it quite well.
Hermione and Ron were the real problems. Hermione had pure jealously with some anger thrown in there. He suspected that Dumbledore was like a god to the girl and she expected to be taken under his wing. Now, Harry had taken that role and she was angry. Hermione had the same issue as Noah: she thought she was the best and everyone else was inferior.
Ron was basically an entitled brat. He knew the Weasleys were poor but Ron had grown up as the youngest male of a loving family. He wasn't spoiled like a rich kid but was compared to his siblings. Most likely, if he sat neat them, Hermione would try to discredit him and insult him. And when Harry fired back, Ron would go crazy. Avoiding them seemed smart.
So, he looked for that girl he sat with on the train: Luna Lovegood. She was nice and had Neville's stamp of approval.
He found her at the Ravenclaw table so he strode over there and asked "Can I sit here?"
"Of course" Luna replied dreamily, making enough space for Harry to sit down next to her.
The rest of the hall bar Dumbledore and Neville gaped. Harry had the potential to be one of Hogwarts' most popular people and was sitting with Luna Lovegood instead people like Malfoy.
Harry began eating and talking to Luna "How were your classes?"
Luna nodded "Care of Magical Creatures still has not put Crumple-Horned Snorkacks on the curriculum. Other than that, my classes were pleasant. How about you?"
"Fine" Harry shrugged as he looked for a dish on the table. He spotted it down the table so he simply asked "Can you pass the salad?"
A girl of Asian descent eagerly grabbed the salad bowl and handed it to him, receiving a simple thanks from Harry. Seeing a chance, she told Harry "Why don't you ditch Loony and hang out with me and my friends?"
"Would you like to sit with me and my friends" the girl repeated "We're much better than Loony."
"No" Harry glared at the girl "And if I hear you call her Loony again, you won't like what happens."
Harry's anger caused his magic to flare which everyone felt. Not wanting to annoy him, the girl took her losses and turned away from him.
Harry sighed, annoyed at how the girl treated Luna. As he thought of ways to get back at her, he was offered a hand "I'm sorry about her."
He looked at the hand to see that it belonged to a girl who had been sitting near them throughout the encounter. She was of Indian descent and had ebony black hair which was put into a ponytail.
Harry shook her hand "It's not your fault."
The girl shrugged "I know. I just wanted to make sure you knew that not all Ravenclaws are jerks."
Harry chuckled "I'm Hadrian Peverell."
"Padma Patil" the girl, now identified as Padma, told him with a smile.
"So, tell about Hogwarts" Harry requested of her, to which Padma eagerly began talking "It's great. Most of the teachers are fantastic. Our Charms teacher, Professor Flitwick, is a former dueling champion. He's taught us loads of stuff. McGonagall is a fair lady. She favors Gryffindor but other than that, she's good. Professor Sprout teaches Herbology and is really nice to any house. Professor Vector and Professor Babbling are knowledgeable in their topics and offer a lot of assistance since their subjects are tough."
Harry raised an eyebrow "Are those all the good teachers?"
Padma nodded sadly "Well, for me, yes. Professor Snape teaches potions and is quite biased. According to my sister Parvati, who's in Gryffindor, he always supports his Slytherins and insults the Gryffindors. If a Slytherin's potion has a problem, he helps them through it. If a Gryffindor has a problem, he vanishes their potion and gives them a 0."
"Damn" Harry muttered.
His new friend grimaced "He's not all. For History, we have a ghost. He talks about goblin rebellions every single class. People either fall asleep, do other work or play games. Long ago, I got a dictaquill to write whatever he says so that I can do other work during class. We also have Professor Trelawney, who teaches Divination."
"But, you can't teach it. You're born with it" Harry told her.
"Exactly. It's a class for kids who want an easy pass. Parvati loves the class but honestly, I find it quite annoying" Padma explained "We also have Care of Magical Creatures. Our usual teacher is our gamekeeper Hagrid. Apparently, he started by showing kids a hippgriff and ended with a kid getting hurt for not following attention. Hagrid's nice but since then, he just shows everyone flobberworms."
"And this is the best school in England" Harry sighed.
"It is pretty good" Padma said, defending her school "You just need to know how to work everything. You can't be a Gryffindor and you have to take Ancient Runes or Arithmancy."
Harry looked at the time "This was nice, but I have to get back to work. Maybe we can talk again."
Padma let out a small smile "That would be nice."
If you haven't figured it out, this will be a Harry/Padma story! Daphne, Katie and Luna were all good options but it would've led to so many confrontations with Hermione and Ron that the story would get stupid really quickly. I eventually landed on Padma as I feel she is a good fit for Harry. Thanks for reading and please leave a review.